The Role of a Pharmacist

There is a tremendous tool available to us all in improving our health – and it’s completely free! That is your neighborhood pharmacist.

Pharmacists have years of training specifically designed to analyze medications including the composition of drugs and their interactions with one another. When dispensing, the pharmacists is charged with ensuring drug purity, strength and safety in use. The recent outbreak of deadly meningitis that occurred from a poorly-monitored compounding pharmacy is a different situation. There are only about 178 compounding pharmacies in the US that make specialized medications for specific situations. Those are supposed to be monitored by the States and the recent contamination case shows how difficult that can be. But before you paint all pharmacists with the same polluted brush, you should be aware of the important role pharmacists play in our health care system.

Pharmacists focus on all aspects of the composition of medications makes them a highly trained ally in the battle to improve health and reduce unnecessary medical costs. They act as advisors to doctors in hospital and nursing home settings to help ensure that medicines are being dispensed properly and effectively.

While responsibilities vary among the different areas of pharmacy practice, the bottom line is that pharmacists help patients get well. Pharmacist responsibilities include a range of care for patients, from dispensing medications to monitoring patient health and progress to maximize their response to the medication. Pharmacists also educate consumers and patients on the use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, and advice physicians, nurses, and other health professionals on drug decisions. Pharmacists also provide expertise about the composition of drugs, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties and their manufacture and use. They ensure drug purity and strength and make sure that drugs do not interact in a harmful way. Pharmacists are drug experts ultimately concerned about their patients’ health and wellness.

Pharmacists are really experts in drugs and their make-up and have been critically important in coordinating with physician decisions in patient care in nursing homes, hospitals and surgical facilities. Studies show that patients, particularly elderly ones, do not take medications correctly in dose or frequency which can not only prolong an illness but can cause a disease to deteriorate further. In this new medical atmosphere, the skill of pharmacists will be utilized more than ever to improve medical outcomes.

Next time you want to understand more about your medications and their interactions, safety record or even alternatives, step into your FREE pharmacists’ office at your local pharmacy and ask the question. It is a great resource in improving your health and reducing confusion about your medications. You don’t have to pay to go to the doctor’s office when free, trained advice is close at hand.